Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fun With Dick And Jane

I was taught to read with Fun With Dick And Jane. While I didn't particularly enjoy that book, I appreciate that it was an important step on my road to reading.

In the words of Anna Quindlen:

It is like the rubbing of two sticks together to make a fire, the act of reading, an improbably pedestrian task that leads to heat and light. Perhaps this only becomes clear when one watches a child do it. Dulled to the mystery by years of STOP signs, recipes, form letters, package instructions, suddenly it is self-evident that this is a strange and difficult thing, this making symbols into words, into sentences, into sentiments and scenes and a world imagined in the mind’s eye. The children’s author Lois Lowry recalled it once: “I remember the feeling of excitement that I had, the first time that I realized each letter had a sound, and the sounds went together to make words; and the words became sentences, and the sentences became stories.”

Our Layered Earth

I just finished reading Anna Quindlen's book, "How Reading Changed My Life." She has a lot of great things to say about reading...Things that most readers will nod their heads in appreciation of as they read.

Try this one:

Reading became the pathway to the world, a world without geographic boundaries or even the steep risers of time. There was a time machine in our world, but not the contraption of metal and bolts and motors imagined even by a man as imaginative as H. G. Wells. Socrates was wrong: a reader learns what he or she does not know from books, what has passed and yet is forever present through print. The mating rituals of the Trobriand Islanders. The travails of the Donner Party. The beaches at Normandy. The smoke from the stacks at Auschwitz. Experience, emotion, landscape: the world is as layered as the earth, life cumulative with books. The eyewitnesses die; the written word lives forever.
Trust me - as one who recently got back from a Grand Canyon experience (a word which herein means the longest hike of my life) - the earth is very layered. :-)